A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Everything is tap to touch. There's some light reading, but the app is mostly pictures and sounds.
Products & Purchases
A link on the main menu leads to the App Store and another app by the same developer. There's also a link to review the app.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that problems with audio quality limit the educational value of Sounds of the Orchestra. The app aims to teach beginners about the different musical instruments that make up a classical orchestra. It's divided into three sections: "Learn" shows the layout of the orchestra with information about each instrument, "Listen" lets players tap on an instrument to hear a sound clip of it, and "Play" is a memory-matching card game for up to four players.
Is It Any Good?
SOUNDS OF THE ORCHESTRA is an app that lacks quality audio -- an oversight that limits its value as a teaching tool. The instruments sound like computerized MIDI samples, and in an age where high-quality sound banks of real recorded instruments are readily available there's no excuse for not using them. What's more, the music the instruments play is often out of context, like a saxophone playing an excerpt from The Nutcracker ballet, or a trombone playing part of a Mozart string quartet. Kids will learn a few basic facts about instruments, but if you want to teach them what an orchestra really sounds like, play them a CD or take them to a concert.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.